France’s biggest sports retailer has cancelled its plans to release a sports hijab in the country following threats from politicians to boycott the company and mounting pressure on social media.
Decathlon said it was stopping its plans to release the hijab, which is already available in Morocco, after it sparked a “violent debate” and “a wave of threats” made against some of the store’s employees.
The company said it had so far received hundreds of calls and emails complaining about the product, as well as the threats and insults directed at staff members.
Initially, the country planned to release the sports hijab, which covers only the person’s hair, worldwide, saying it wanted to “make sport accessible to all women in the world”.
Aurore Berge, a member of President Emmanuel Macon’s centrist party, tweeted her opposition to the hijab Tuesday, accusing the store of not respecting French values.
“My choice as a woman and citizen will be to no longer trust a brand which breaks with our values,” she tweeted, according to The Guardian.
It was a sentiment shared by Health Minister Agnès Buzyn.
“It’s a vision of women that I don’t share. I would prefer if a French brand did not promote the headscarf,” she said.
Decathlon said the garment would not go on sale at this time and also urged those who called and emailed in threats to store workers to remain “respectful” in their correspondence.
Muslim head scarfs are legal in public spaces in France, but they have been banned in state schools and in some public buildings since 2004.
In 2010, former leader Nicolas Sarkozy’s government banned full-face coverings in the country, but was accused of stigmatising and discriminating against Muslim women at the time.
This article originally appeared on Fox News and has been reproduced with permission